Wellbutrin (Bupropion) Experiences? — 3% Risk of Causing Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Molto7, Jan 7, 2020.

    1. Molto7

      Molto7 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth, became disturbing in 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have major depression and for a while I was taking Wellbutrin 150mg 2x a day. It worked wonders for my anxiety.

      However when my tinnitus started I read that Wellbutrin could cause ringing in the ears so I of course immediately stopped taking it. My tinnitus did not get better when I stopped it.

      After about 6 months it’s now at a bearable level. My depression is spiraling out of control now that I’ve had to switch medications.

      So what I want to know is does anyone else here take Wellbutrin? My doctor told me that Wellbutrin causes tinnitus in about 3% of users so the chances of it actually causing mine to be worse are slim.

      I want to start taking Wellbutrin again because it is the only antidepressant that’s ever worked for me (I have tried many) but I’m so scared.

      Can anyone offer me advice on this medication?
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. jimH
      Caffeine

      jimH Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      30 years+
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      @Molto7

      Sorry that you've been suffering from major depression.

      I have no experience with Wellbutrin. So, I can't help you as far as advice from personal experience.

      That said, have you already used the forum search feature? If not, you might find some useful information there. I just typed in the one word, "Wellbutrin" and there are pages of threads regarding it.

      Good Luck!
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Molto7

      Molto7 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth, became disturbing in 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @jimH I actually did just spend some time doing that after I posted this thread. I saw nothing but absolute horror stories. I suppose there is no point in risking my T getting worse to help my depression with this medication. If my T gets worse I'll undoubtedly be more depressed regardless of what medications I'm taking. This feels so hopeless sometimes. After everything that I read I almost wonder now if it was the Wellbutrin that caused this. I suppose though that it doesn't matter what caused it since it can't be cured anyway.
       
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    4. jimH
      Caffeine

      jimH Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      30 years+
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Just learning that alone might have prevented you from making a bad situation worse. So, you didn't waste your time doing the search and reading some of those posts.

      I do hope that you'll find something very soon that will bring you some relief from your depression without exacerbating your Tinnitus.
       
    5. Shaz1
      Gloomy

      Shaz1 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wellbutrin / Noise Exposure
      At least you stopped it when you did and it went back down! I was on it for so long before I even noticed the tinnitus increase, and made the connection between the drug and what was happening - I definitely wish I'd gotten off it sooner or never tried it, but I knew what I knew at the time, so I shouldn't blame myself (though I often do).

      The majority of people are fine and take it without problems (I know a handful who are fine), but some people are unlucky (like me, I guess!)

      If you think it's related, I'd probably suggest trying something else.
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Molto7

      Molto7 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth, became disturbing in 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Shaz1 I stopped it about 6 months ago, a couple weeks after the tinnitus started. I take amitriptyline now which somewhat eases the depression and it helps me sleep. Its just not enough.
       
    7. Shaz1
      Gloomy

      Shaz1 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wellbutrin / Noise Exposure
      Unfortunately I can’t offer any more specific advice. You can take a look at my intro thread for my story. I’d look at the thread @dnl made, as he had a similar experience too.

      I’m at 9.5 months since stopping - after 2 months on a lower dose, and then 1 on a higher dose (which set it off), and then a few more weeks on the lower dose when I stopped.

      My tinnitus is still there, unfortunately, and was made worse by a recent incident - it’s not great, especially since the Wellbutrin did help so much with my mood on the lower dose.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of suggestions with regards to depression - mine isn’t major depression, and talk therapy helps me a lot - but there are definitely medicines that don’t have the same tinnitus risk associated with them, but I’m no expert. Regular meditation and exercise did help a lot with my depression, FWIW, but again, my depression was mild.
       
    8. carolinet617
      Tired

      carolinet617 Member

      Location:
      Apex, NC, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bupropion (Wellbutrin), TMJ, possible ETD
      Hi there,

      I'm really sorry you're going through this. I've had major depression for 20 years and my tinnitus started almost a year ago to the day after starting Wellbutrin. I discontinued it in March and although the ENT said it would fade eventually, I still have it today.

      I wish I had better news for you BUT I also want to point out that I have also been diagnosed with TMJ and likely have ETD as well. There is a chance Wellbutrin was not the sole cause, and just kind of the catalyst. I've spoken with several psychiatrists since then though, and none of them were surprised--they had all previously had patients develop tinnitus from Wellbutrin. Of course there are also plenty of people who take Wellbutrin without issue. If it happened with you once before though, I probably wouldn't risk going on it again. I know how hard it is to find a drug that works though so I know that really sucks. I have yet to find any relief from my depression, and it's now even worse due to the tinnitus.

      Even though a year of this has felt like eternity, if you browse around the forum you'll also see stories of people whose medication-induced tinnitus faded after longer than a year so there IS hope. That's what I'm holding onto. This forum can be dangerous because there are a lot of horror stories, but there are also a lot of successes. A lot of times peoples' tinnitus will fade over time and they just stop visiting the forum. And a lot of times it seems to be for no reason other than just time.

      I really really hope you're able to find relief from something else! Hang in there! <3
       
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      • Hug Hug x 1
    9. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
    10. Shaz1
      Gloomy

      Shaz1 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wellbutrin / Noise Exposure
      @carolinet617 sounds like you’re basically on the exact same timeline as me. Let’s hope it gets better - and if not, let’s hope we adjust.
      I also agree that it’s a multilayered issue for me - I definitely had a few other issues before, including super super faint (barely noticeable) tinnitus, some barotrauma to one ear due to travel with congestion, and TMJ issues. The Wellbutrin just seemed to take all that and amplify it a ton - too bad it didn’t yet dissipate, but there’s still hope.

      Hindsight is always 20/20 - but we made our decisions based on knowledge we had at the time.
       
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    11. carolinet617
      Tired

      carolinet617 Member

      Location:
      Apex, NC, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bupropion (Wellbutrin), TMJ, possible ETD
      Sorry to hear that! Yeah, exactly...I try not to beat myself up about it but boy, I'd do anything to rewind a year. Then again, even if I noticed that it listed a 3% chance of tinnitus I probably would have thought "well that's not likely" and also not understood how truly debilitating tinnitus can be and may have taken it anyway. My friends are probably sick of me talking about tinnitus but I won't shut up about it because I never would have known how bad of a condition it is if I hadn't gotten it myself. Worst possible way to learn, haha.

      Very much hoping for both of us to get some relief!
       
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    12. Shaz1
      Gloomy

      Shaz1 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wellbutrin / Noise Exposure
      Truth. Also, generally, most people say side effects on these medications are temporary - so you assume if you experience any, you can stop it - you don't really learn it can possibly be permanent / long lasting until it's too late. I also didn't notice it early, just because I live in a noisy environment with fans and road noise, etc etc... so I can't feel too bad about not noticing earlier and getting off it earlier.

      It is a mild comfort to know I'm not entirely alone on this at least, and to be able to talk to others experiencing the same thing.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    13. Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Black Sabbath.
      One thing I have learned about ototoxicity is that once I got tinnitus from it and my ears became compromised- there are virtually no medications I can take now even in minimal doses that don’t increase my tinnitus permanently.
      And my threshold for noise exposure doing damage is ridiculously low.
      A single 200 mg ibuprofen puts me in agony- and this is a fact.
      I’ve done enough trial and error to know.
      Not sure about small amounts of caffeine and alcohol from beer- now that I am finally off all medications I should be able to tell.
      But I wouldn’t be surprised if everything that is toxic to the body is bad for tinnitus from ototoxicity.
      Such a raw deal because 1 Motrin can make the difference between me getting being able to make it through the last half of a ten hour work day without knee pain.
       

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